The Quinton Report at the Maryland March for Life

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I will be attending the 2014 Maryland March for Life in Annapolis this afternoon. Follow me on Twitter for updates during the march and rally. I will be writing about what I witness and posting pictures when I get back. I will specifically be noting what politicians and elected officials are participating.

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Larry Hogan’s latest email has people seeing yellow

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Just last week, I wrote about the 1,400+ word email that the campaign of Larry Hogan previously sent out:

This email arrived with the all-caps subject line of “WE CAN WIN!”

There are also several other uses of all-caps sentences and phrases throughout the message. None of that is ideal for avoiding recipients’ spam filters. Of course, it’s probably not a good idea to send an email that’s over 1400 words long if you expect any of the recipients to actually read it. If they want the email to be productive in fundraising, it’s good that they include donation links throughout the message. However, putting the links at seemingly random places between paragraphs as the words “CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY!” is probably not the best way to do it. Working the ask so it flows into the copy of the message and then hyperlinking those phrases would probably have more positive results than how this Hogan email did it.

This week’s email (you can see part of it above in the graphic) clocked in at around 500 words. To see it for yourself, click here.

The subject line this time wasn’t in all-caps and was, “TIME isn’t the ONLY thing we need to CHANGE TODAY!”

The subject line, with spaces, is 50 characters long. Mailchimp’s recommendations for subject lines are 50 characters or less (and they are the vendor being used by the Hogan campaign to distribute messages.)  While this subject line is better than one with all-caps I really don’t think it’s a good one. The subject line is a vitally important and often ill-considered part of the message. Experimenting with subject lines, whether through A-B testing on the same message or through experimentation on subject lines of subsequent messages, is a must to help improve open rates of messages.

This message is the second one from a Maryland Republican in recent days to try to take advantage of Daylight Saving Time as hook.

The thing that instantly jumps out at you is the hideous yellow body background. That dooms the template for the message from the start. Some of the comments I heard about the look of the message included the one word comments of “Geocities” or “Angelfire.” I also heard one person say, “It’s like 1988.” I also had one person ask if the message was really from the Hogan campaign (it is.)

This particular email uses a lot of blue text for emphasis, some of it with underlined words as well. None of the blue text is actually a hyperlink, despite that being what many people will assume until they try to click on it.

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There is also one use of black text underlined which is a bit inconsistent and could also be mistaken for a link.

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Then we come back to the issue of donation links. As I noted, the previous Hogan email had donation links seemingly at random places between paragraphs as the words “CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY!” rather than making the links in places that made sense inside the text itself. This weeks email still makes the mistake of putting those words in all caps and then makes it uglier with the white text and red background on the words. This appears to be a crude attempt at making a donate button without actually making a graphic. It’s still not the right way to do a solicitation inside the body of a message. A donate button (an actual graphic) can be used to supplement the donation links in the body, but it should only go on a sidebar or at the top or bottom of a message.

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The last message had a scan of Hogan’s signature built into the closing. Apparently the white background of that graphic caused them not to use it this week with the mustard yellow background and instead use typed text. Unfortunately, the font for that text was Comic Sans, which is often the butt of jokes when it gets used on any professional documents (even David Brinkley used Segoe Print instead.) Additionally, a postscript is a great way to ask for money again in any message. However, when you include a postscript without a donation link included on the ask (yes it should be organic and not the CLICK TO DONATE TODAY! links the Hogan campaign is mistakenly in love with), you are missing an opportunity to make money. The postscript is also significantly smaller in type size than the body of the message, which could cause it to be overlooked more easily.

Here’s the signature and postscript along with examples of some of the other problems I already discussed:

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At the bottom of the message there are two links – to Twitter and Facebook – that have a red background like the donation links from the message. These links aren’t white however, and look like they do below if the recipient has visited either link before. A graphic would be much better and wouldn’t take much effort to make. Additionally, the campaign already has some small social media graphic buttons on their website that would have worked for this as well.

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Now that I looked at all the problems with the technical execution of this email, let’s look at the bigger picture.

I talked to one fundraising professional who agreed with my above assessment of the technical aspects of the message. Additionally, this fundraising expert discussed the content of the message as well:

The second half reads like a poorly written cover letter. And the colors and signature are horrible. Tough to read – in so many ways.

He goes on to say that the whole message is a “disaster.”

Another digital expert I talked to about this message noted how tedious the writing style is. He also noted that this message could have been sent by anyone running had you just switched out a few biographical details. It does nothing to distinguish Hogan from anyone else.

Throw in all of the technical screw-ups along with the big picture problems, it would seem obvious to anyone that whoever is responsible for the Hogan campaign’s fundraising email is grossly incompetent.

Maybe somebody at the Hogan campaign can get a copy of E-Mail Marketing for Dummies or use Google to find all of the other good resources for best practices for online fundraising and email marketing. Some help with a graphic design program could be helpful too. Maybe finding another person to do the emails that actually knows what they’re doing might help too.

This may seem inside baseball and a bit in the weeds for some readers, but it’s an important area for Republicans to get right if they want to catch up to Democrats.

Read More…

Ron George is accepting public funding for his campaign

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In late December, I reported first that Ron George was considering public financing for his campaign. The Washington Post later picked that up and reported it as a possibility for the George campaign. Nothing much was heard on that since then. In early February, Larry Hogan opted to receive public financing. On February 28, it was reported that David Craig is participating in public financing.

I followed up constantly on this issue looking for a response. The deadline to file for public funding was February 25 at 9:00 p.m. (which was also the filing deadline to run.)

The George campaign was saying late in the game that he was still undecided. Both Lollar and George seemed to be having trouble closing the deal with their respective running mates, with neither of them having it sewn up until the weekend before the deadline. Lollar announced Ken Timmerman on February 24 and George announced Shelly Aloi on February 25. Maybe the issue of public funding got lost in the all the running mate selection news for Lollar and George just before the filing deadline.

It appears Lollar did not apply for public funding, which isn’t a surprise. However, I have now confirmed that Ron George did file for public funding before the deadline and apparently managed to keep it out of the media’s eye ever since. (If you have any links to coverage I might have missed on that please let me know in the comments.) I’m not sure whether that says more about the media (including bloggers like me) who missed it or whether it’s a statement of the  media’s perceived relevance of the George campaign.

Heather Mizeur is the only Democrat running for Governor taking public funding while Charles Lollar appears to be the only Republican not taking it.

More on Ben Carson and restricting gun rights

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Via Twitchy, Dana Loesch was tweeting during Ben Carson’s CPAC speech Saturday:

 

Twitchy notes:

Here’s what Carson told Glenn Beck last year, via RCP:

It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it. If you live out in the country somewhere by yourself, I have no problem.

Carson offered more on his position a few months ago in an op-ed titled “Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?”

I had noted some of the previous Carson remarks in a post:

When asked by Glenn Beck if people should be allowed to own semi-automatic weapons, Dr. Benjamin Carson said: “It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.” (Glenn Beck Show, March 1, 2013)

From the Carson op-ed linked above:

We do, however, require that anyone driving a car on the streets of our nation have a license to do so, indicating the successful completion of adequate training. We do not grant licenses to certain categories of individuals who would be deemed unsafe drivers. This is done for the safety of the public at large.

Perhaps instead of getting into our corners and screaming at each other, it is time to engage in intelligent conversation about our desire to preserve the rights granted to American citizens by our Constitution while at the same time ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. The way we treat access to automobiles is a good starting point, although there is no perfect analogy. If we keep our goals in mind and dispose of ideological rhetoric, we can solve this problem.

As I noted last week, the Charles Lollar for Governor campaign has purported to receive Ben Carson’s endorsement (the 2nd time in the past year they’ve acted like a new endorsement was received from him.) All of the statements were in the third person from the Lollar campaign with no statements from Carson himself. The Lollar campaign also claimed Carson gave them a $4000 contribution.

You would think that someone covering all the Carson news lately with him at CPAC would’ve thought to ask him about it had there been an actual statement from Carson about it (or if there was a statement, they would had to have considered Lollar relevant.) I am in the process of trying to get comments from the Carson people about the supposed endorsement from Lollar and I will do a follow-up if and when I get a response. Only one thing is certain, Carson won’t be voting for Lollar (unless he changes his registration.) I’ve confirmed that Carson is currently registered as an independent in Maryland and would not be allowed to vote in the GOP primary.

VIDEO: New Trailer for 24: Live Another Day

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IGN:

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) makes his grand return this year in 24: Live Another Day. This time, he’s using his fugitive status to save the President of the United States from an assassination plot in England.

More from IGN:

Whereas the original eight seasons followed a “real time” 24-episode format, 24: Live Another Day has only 12 episodes and labels itself an “event,” which basically means “miniseries.” Each episode will still take place over the course of one hour.

Live Another Day was shot on location in London. Mary Lynn Rajskub and William Devane return as Chloe O’Brian and Secretary of State-turned-President James Heller, respectively. Newcomers include Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Tate Donovan (Argo), Benjamin Bratt (Despicable Me 2) and Stephen Fry (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) as British Prime Minister, Trevor Davies.